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Concern - question for the woodburning pros

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by JCass, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. JCass

    JCass New Member

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    I just started a fire. Mix of small kindling, paper and a couple small splits. She was burning well with the door cracked about a 1/2 inch. I ran outside to grab some sage happened to look up at the chimney top and noticed some sparks coming out.

    Now, I am pretty sure I don't have a chimney fire going on. No smoke, now heavy sparks. Just one or two every five minutes. I have her settled in and cruising now and have not seen any more sparks. I've only been burning for about 3 wks and have been burning hot clean fires. Last week I checked the upper 2-3 feet of the stack and didn't see any build up.

    I am a little concerned about this. The sparks seem to fizzle out as soon as they hit the cap. Anyone have any thoughts about this?

    JC

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Some paper might have got sucked up?
    I bet you have a great draft.
    Do you have a screen below the cap?
  3. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    It sounds to me like some paper got sucked up as it was burning. If that was the case, it is normal with a strong draft. my stove has a bypass damper and when lighting the same thing happens when the bypass is open.

    Andrew
  4. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I would try tying the paper in knots and watching if the sparks still happen. Super Cedars as firestarters would be another option.
  5. Shmudda

    Shmudda Burning Hunk

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    Rule #1......never use or burn paper in your stove or fireplace. Even to start your fire. Play it safe, get some simple fire starters at Lowes or Home Depot and go that route,it's easier and safer! The only thing I use paper for is cleaning the glass, that's it. You now know the reason, it sends to many hot embers up the stack

    Craig
  6. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    +1 on super cedars. I didn't use them last year, started this year though. Waaayyy better than newspaper. Good luck
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I use newspaper all the time as a firestarter. Never had a problem with it.
    jharkin, corey21, Joful and 3 others like this.
  8. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Ditto. I use newspaper as firestarter now in my third season. No problems so far.
    Carbon_Liberator and Beer Belly like this.
  9. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I also use news paper sometimes with no problems.
    Carbon_Liberator and Beer Belly like this.
  10. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    also use newspaper, as well as birch bark, homemade firestarter, fatwood, fine kindling, and have supercedars for others to use....no problem with the newspaper.
    Carbon_Liberator likes this.
  11. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Call me a heretic, but I prefer newspapers over super cedars.
    Carbon_Liberator likes this.
  12. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    lol - if paper caused any real issues, I ...and likely 10 million other people would be dead 100x over.
    Carbon_Liberator likes this.
  13. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    Another news paper user. I have it down to only using 5 sheets of it to start a fire with.Well seasoned wood and dry kindling makes starting fires easy as pie.
    Carbon_Liberator likes this.
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Nothing wrong with news paper. And your sparks were probably because of the wide open primary air for start up. Once you tune it down for the long haul, you restrict the free flow of air reducing the chance of sparks making it to the top of the stack. Burn on, Brother.
    Carbon_Liberator likes this.
  15. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Been using paper and kindling for 40 years, so does everybody else I know who burns around here. A few sparks out the chimney during an active fire is pretty common, that's why they sell screens on chimneys caps if you are worried about it, although I've seen small embers even make it through screens. Unless you have a straw roof, or built up debris on your roof, it's not something to get too worked up about, as a rule the ember cool off the moment they leave the chimney.
    There are other things that can cause sparks or ember to fly out the chimney besides paper, sometimes just stoking the fire will cause stuff to fly up the chimney. Check it out, get your wife to aggressively stir the fire some night while you go out and watch the chimney.
    If you sometimes burn less than perfectly seasoned wood, or burn too cool, you can get soot deposits that will burn off with the next hot fire and they sometimes break lose and will fly up the chimney.
    A bit of saw dust thrown in a hot active fire will cause sparks to fly.
    The list goes on.
  16. JCass

    JCass New Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I knew I could count on the forum. I may consider putting a screen up top just in case. Not too worried after all the replies. I seem to have a really strong draft at startup.
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Be aware that any type of fine screen has the ability to plug. Just throwing that out there.
  18. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    HEREITIC!!!

    I use both actually. Usually on a cold start, I will tie a couple knots and put the wherever they will fit, and let them help start the draft.. let the SC start the fire..

    or if doing a tunnel of love reload, throw a knot right there in front of the doghouse if I need it to get going a little quicker.. like because, I need to get out the door and into my treestand..
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Ditto
  20. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Going back to the OP...

    1. Never leave a stove with the door cracked 1/2". Sure-fire recipe for disaster.

    2. If the door was indeed cracked open, the resulting strong draft is likely a big / the contributor to burning embers carried up your chimney.

    My stove manual tells me to ONLY use newspaper for starting fires.
  21. Isaac Carlson

    Isaac Carlson New Member

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    We have a very short chimney and so it is very self-regulating in terms of draft. I have no problem starting a fire without paper, kindling, or tinder. I stack a few splits in the box and light a match. I am normally able to close the door and it will take right off. I should put together a video of how I do it....
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Lots of folks here leave the door cracked open a little for start up. It's recommended in several stove manuals. Why would this be a sure fire recipe for disaster?
  23. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    My stove manual says to leave the door cracked for 10 minutes but it blows a lot of heat up the chimney at that point.
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I'm pretty sure every one of those stove manuals specifically states, "do not leave the stove unattended with the door open 1/2"." I was commenting to the fact that he went outside to gather sage while the stove was in this state, not as to the practice of cracking the door to start the fire, while you're standing there watching it.

    Like most others, I also crack my door open to get things going on start-up. I just don't leave the stove to go outside with it in that state.
  25. JCass

    JCass New Member

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    I should have stated that I went outside with the door cracked, but my wife remained inside with the stove.

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